Branded. Branding. Brand? Do you have to have a brand?
(BUT I love this logo Sydney Smith designed for the Fitch backlist Nimbus is now publishing.)
What about an agent?
They can help but still not always necessary. I don't have one for my children's books in Canada but I do have one now for adult books. Submit even if you do not have an agent--- wherever permitted by publisher.
How much "selling" of book and self does an author have to do?
These days -- a lot. BUT-- you have a life. Try to do only what you can do with a glad heart.
Best advice I ever got about being a writer still stands:
Read, read, read. Write, write,write.
Never give up. Get feedback. Write again.
It took ten years of rejection before I got a yes from a publisher.
Your book will happen and find its way into the arms of a reader but you have to keep on keeping on through many drafts and rejections and moments of doubt.
MY question: If you do not believe in your book, who will?
PS Unless you are JK Rowlings or John Grisham or Oprah discovers you -- you'll have to have a day job to make a living. For most of us -- royalties from book sales alone do NOT bring home enough jellybeans.
PSS Write the book you'd like to read.
Said before and I'll say again. Writing is a sharing.
It's not just what your words do for you, it's what your words might but do for others.